Five fathoms

In Telemachus a "boatman" standing on the rocks says to his companion, "There's five fathoms out there... It'll be swept up that way when the tide comes in about one. It's nine days today." Stephen thinks, "The man that was drowned." A fathom is six feet, so the boatman is indicating thirty feet of water in the outer reaches of Dublin Bay where it gives way to open ocean. (Thornton observes, "I have seen several maps of the Dublin Bay area which include a 'Five Fathom Line'.") Somewhere out there a man's body is being pushed about by the currents and swelling up with gas, and folk wisdom holds that it will surface after nine days. Within these realistic details lurks an allusion to Shakespeare's The Tempest that raises metaphysical questions about life after death. 

John Hunt 2011

Sea nymphs viewing the body of Ferdinand's father, in a painting by Edmund Dulac. Source: